Kay Lovelace Taylor
In this qualitative study of 971 students, educators, and parents, Lovelace Taylor examines the barriers that keep African American children from being academically successful. The book examines the popular myths and perceptions behind why these students are not achieving and replaces them with five key barriers as identified by the 971 interviewees. Based on the data collected in this study, Lovelace Taylor asserts that the culture of our public schools, including both internal and external influences, needs to be understood and changed in order for meaningful improvement to be realized and for the achievement gap to be closed.
The author approaches the subject of the achievement gap by comparing national achievement scores disaggregated among racial lines and asking 971 students, educators, and parents what they think the number one reason is for the poor performance of African American students. Lovelace Taylor sorts the responses into five categories, which are named as the five barriers: student behaviors, parent and family involvement, teacher behaviors, school culture, and community/environment/streets.
The first four chapters take a close look at the five barriers through the eyes of the students, parents, and educators, giving readers a deep insight into the people who are closest to the achievement gap problem. The final chapter concludes with recommendations for removing the barriers. This chapter includes a case study of a district that is involved in professional development designed to uncover popular myths and perceptions about the achievement gap and to demonstrate that long-held perceptions can be replaced with new research-based information to solve the achievement gap problem. Included in the appendices are sample professional development modules and the actual responses from participants in the study.
Kay Lovelace Taylor is president of KLT & Associates and has held executive positions in two of the larger districts in the country, Detroit and Philadelphia. She also served as an associate professor for educational leadership and policy studies for the College of Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. Lovelace Taylor received a master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of Detroit and a doctorate in educational administration and curriculum development from Wayne State University.